A book excerpt at Salon.com.
Salon.com has published an excerpt from Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism by Michelle Goldberg. (You may have to watch a brief ad to read the excerpt; it’s worth it.) The book covers a topic that has been worrying me for some time now: the religious right’s efforts to base the American government on pure Christian beliefs.
Some of you reading this might say, “What’s wrong with that?” Let me tell you.
- Some of the first people to come to this country — remember the pilgrims? — came so they could have religious freedom — the freedom to practice and follow their own religious beliefs.
- The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution — which you can find near the bottom of the navigation column on most pages of this site — begins, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” (And yes, I am aware that more Americans can name the five members of the Simpsons cartoon family than can name the rights granted in the First Amendment.)
- The establishment of laws that are based on a belief system could restrict the freedoms of people who don’t share those beliefs — for example, the country’s homosexual population. This country was built on freedom.
- Setting school curriculums based on theology could prevent students from learning and building on generally accepted scientific theories — like evolution. Over time, that could severely curtail America’s scientific advances — students that aren’t taught real science can’t be real scientists.
- A government theocracy could use religion as a reason to wage war against groups of a different religion as a matter of policy.
These are just a few reasons that come to mind as I sit here typing this.
I don’t want to read this book. I don’t want to know what’s inside it. Just knowing that this situation exists scares me. I can’t believe that in the year 2006, there are still people who’d like to force others to teach creationism in school or make homosexuality illegal. It’s as if we’re taking a giant step backwards, into the Dark Ages. I’d like to take the ostrich approach and just stick my head in the sand.
But when it comes time to vote, I’ll be at the polls. And any candidate that uses religion as any part of his/her campaign will not get my vote.
Keep religion out of government.